Summary: Wisdom: don't leave home without it!
WISDOM: DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT
Introduction: Chapter seven marks a turning point in the book of Ecclesiastes. All of a sudden the student begins to encounter the one word that has been absent. That one word is “wisdom.” It appears seven times in verses 1-4 (NIV). Solomon hasn’t been living very wisely. Life the prodigal he seems to be coming to his senses. He’s found out that all the things he’s tried hasn’t satisfied. He’s now turning in the right direction.
If you will note Solomon goes from a narrative style of writing; a testimonial if you will, to a proverbial style. At the outset of this message let me make a few observations.
1. It’s possible, even easy, for people to stray from the father’s way.
2. Doing it my way never satisfies. Living life “under the sun” is futile living.
3. You can come home again. Perhaps I should have called this sermons “The Prodigal Solomon.”
4. We all need to wise-up!
Wisdom: Don’t leave home without it. Why? For two reasons.
I. Wisdom Will Always Point Us to that Which is Better (1-10)
Note the word “better.” It’s used eight times in these verses. What is “better?”
A. Character is Better Than Cologne (v. 1) – The ointment here speaks of wealth and luxury. People in those days covered themselves with a sweet smelling ointment to create a favorable impression. But note what Solomon said. “A good name is better.” What’s the point? The “name” represents character, reputation and influence. While the ointment may be expensive, nothing is more valuable than the character behind your name. What you are on the inside is more important that what you are on the outside.
B. Heaven is Better that Heartache (v. 1) – Where you will be (Christians that is) is better than where you are. Where you’re going is better than where you’ve been. The joyous days following death are better than the stress-filled days following your birth.
C. Reflection is Better than Revelry (v. 2) – Going to a funeral is better than going to Mardi Gras. An hour at a funeral service is better than a week on the beach at spring break! Why? We learn more. Death forces us to ask the really important questions. It forces us to get beyond the superficial to the serious.
D. Perspective is Better than Pleasure (v. 3-4) – We often times learn a lot more through sorrow than laughter.
E. Correction is Better than Commendation (v. 5-7) – Honest feedback is better than flattery. Praise from a fool has the same results as thorny branches used for stating a fire. There are lots of sparks but no heat. Sometimes we don’t need a Rah! Rah! but a rebuke. It may come through a boss, parent, coach, colleague, counselor, pastor or friend. Sometimes our critics may be our best blessing.
F. The Conclusion is Better than the Commencement (v. 8) – In the end the picture is complete. Isn’t the story of the prodigal son better at the end than at the beginning? It’s possible to overcome a bad beginning but you cannot change a bad ending.